The Write Teacher(s) Gallery: Morley
Hello Beautiful People,
I can’t really pinpoint the moment that I found Morley, but I can say that I’m so very happy that I did. His pieces are moving + poignant, and, for me, they’re a breath of fresh air in the visual arts sphere.
I’m thrilled to feature his words + his work in our latest piece in The Write Teacher(S) Gallery, and I know y’all will love it.
MM: First things first, what made you get into street art?
Morley: I think the main interest came from discovering it as a method of self-expression that didn’t require me to try and hustle an audience to give it a chance. Instead, it was bringing the work to the audience directly. It wasn’t asking for permission and it had no agenda beyond just being seen. It’s always been wonderful to have the chance to speak into the lives of strangers and hopefully leave them just a little bit better off than they were before they stumbled across my message.
MM: If you had to pick another artistic media what would it be?
Morley: I think every method of expression has wonderful aspects to it. In college I majored in screenwriting and I recently had a play that I wrote and directed in the Hollywood Fringe Theater Festival. I love music too and it’s also been a dream of mine to write comic books.
MM: Where do you gain your inspiration for the text of your pieces?
Morley: I’m not too picky in where I find inspiration so I look everywhere. Primarily though I find it in my relationships with my friends and family. The struggles they face and the day-to-day observations I make about them. Of course, I try to draw from my own experiences as well. I think if I expect anyone to relate to something I’ve written, I would need to feel it comes from an honest place within myself.
MM: Just for fun, what books are permanently on your bookshelf?
Morley: I’m sure many will think this is the most Silverlake collection of references but I do love Raymond Carver, Haruki Murakami, David Sedaris and Adrian Tomine. Howl by Ginsberg is there. I also have a bunch of books on The Beatles (one of my favorite subjects) and quite a few comic book trade paperbacks.
MM: Just for fun, if you were stranded on a desert island, what movies and television shows would you want readily available to you?
Morley: The Justice League Animated series would have to be there. The British Office. Boogie Nights. Dazed and Confused. The Before Sunrise series. The King of Comedy, Buffalo ’66, Back to the Future, The (original) Karate Kid, American Movie, The Twilight Zone, The first 8 seasons of The Simpsons, Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Kids in the Hall.
MM: What’s the best piece of advice you could offer to students in high school and college who wish to pursue a career in the arts?
Morley: I may not be the best person to ask as I started doing my street work as a way to sooth the frustration I was feeling while trying to create a career in the arts. In a way, I often feel like it was the fact that I wasn’t trying to make this a career that gave it a kind of purity that people responded to. I think if I had wanted to really try to make money off of my work I wouldn’t give so much of it away to the streets. That said, as things have progressed with Morley, it’s taken on a much more career-like trajectory than I had anticipated. Now seeing this as perhaps my legacy- I think I can only suggest that you create your art out of love and avoid concerning yourself with how people will respond. I also always advise finding your voice and embracing what makes you unique. Too often we as artists become enamored with another artist and our work becomes derivative of theirs- but if we really embrace who we are, warts and all, we can discover something honest and vulnerable and surprisingly, very relatable.
MM: In public education, arts education programs are the first to get cut. What would you tell a school board and/or political officials in an effort to preserve the arts programming?
Morley: I would say that the future is in innovation and you only get innovation through creative expansion of thought. If we are set on creating a generation of people who are only empowered with certain kinds of knowledge, we will have a generation of people with limited capabilities for advancing any number of fields- even industries we thought were merely arithmetical and had no creative facet. We think of English being primarily the subject in which we learn to communicate with the outsider world- but art is such a vital part of learning to express one’s self that to overlook it or to find it ‘obsolete’ is myopic and, I believe, something that will lead to serious cultural and economic consequences.
MM: Just for fun, if you had to describe yourself in a hashtag, what would it be?
MM: Fill in this sentence, “Morley is______________.”
Morley: That little part of you that says: “It’s okay to admit that you’re just pretending to have the answers.”
MM: Who/is was your greatest teacher?
Morley: The first teacher I had that really empowered me was a guy named Lawrence Gwyn. He was my 9th grade English teacher and he was one of the first people who made me feel exceptional at something. I would write short stories and his encouragement gave me the confidence to explore my mind without being stifled by my own self-conscious insecurities. I think sometimes a kid just needs to be told sincerely that he or she is talented and that they have something to offer the world in order for them to believe it themselves. Mr. Gwyn gave me that gift and I’ve always seen it as the beginning of my creative journey. I’m not saying that people should give empty compliments to kids in order to make them feel special, but for an adult to take an interest in a child enough to notice something that they secretly want to be validated in, is like giving them permission to like themselves. I believe that’s a weapon we wield for the rest of our lives.
Thank you, Morley!
Live, Love, Learn,